The lawn shot up well past our shins, but we were blissfully ignorant of the work that lay before us. Our friends would soon be moving in down the street, and we had concocted a grand plan: we would mow their lawn before they arrived! With remarkable ambition, we steered our dad’s push-mower down the street. The jolly, whirring blades echoed from the pavement, announcing our scheme to the neighborhood. Yet when we reached our verdant destination, we quickly realized that our tiny bodies could hardly wield such a machine through even a manicured lawn, much less a veritable jungle.
Undaunted, we sought out some neighbor friends. Could we please borrow their gas-powered mower? We were determined. Soon we were up and running, forcing the noisy mower up and down aisle after aisle of grass. My brother, sister, and I took turns, delighted with the plan to welcome our friends. As I recall, the finished product was less than satisfactory, even in the eyes of a 10-year-old. Yet we were still proud. And our friends? I’m sure they noticed the uneven lines, the irregular sprouts of greenery . . . and the final, inevitable stretch where we ran out of gas. Literally. But, dear friends that they were, they were absolutely delighted by our gesture.
I wish I could remember more details of our adventure, but the facts that do stand out in my mind tell a greater story. They tell of my parents’ teaching–a teaching which invited my siblings and me to consider the things we might do for others.